Conflicts of interest disclosure forms and management in critical care clinical practice guidelines
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BACKGROUND: Trustworthy clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) require identification and careful management of conflicts of interest (COIs) among all participants in the guideline development. Furthermore, COIs are more common than anticipated. However, there are no universally accepted methods to identify and manage COIs. OBJECTIVE: To describe and summarize the current COI disclosure forms and management policies in selected critical care professional societies that develop high-impact CPGs. In addition, we aim to provide suggestions to guideline developers on how to identify and manage different types of COIs. METHODS: We searched PubMed and MEDLINE for CPGs published between 2013 and 2018 in English language and addressed general critical care topics. We then ranked the CPGs according to the numbers of citations and selected the first five critical care professional societies that sponsored the guidelines. We obtained the most recent COI declaration forms and management policies. Two reviewers abstracted data on different types of COI in each of the disclosure forms and management policies. RESULTS: All selected professional critical care societies require that members declare direct financial COIs; four societies inquire specifically about intellectual COIs (involvement in primary research). Three out of five societies require members to disclose indirect institutional financial COIs; however, none inquire about other forms of institutional COI. We developed, by consensus, a streamlined framework to classify and manage different types of COIs. CONCLUSION: The current COI disclosure forms of selected professional societies provide more attention to financial disclosures and COIs and less attention to detecting and managing intellectual COIs, while rarely addressing institutional COIs. We provide some suggestions for guideline developers on the classification and management of different COIs in the context of CPGs.
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